KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Water soon will be flowing again in the city's fountains as the weather warms up. But at least eight of the water spectacles need major repairs or upgrades -- and Fountain Day is less than a month away.
The Hall Family Foundation recently donated $500,000 to get the Volker Fountain repaired and operating again. The beautiful waterfall feature that's part of the fountain along Brush Creek hasn't worked in years.
The City of Fountains Foundation is in the middle of a campaign to raise more than $2.6 million from businesses, foundations and philanthropists to repair many of the other city treasures. More than 100 individuals of corporate entities already have donated more than $1 million.
Maintenance on rusty pipes and valves is not cheap. Frayed wiring often needs to be repaired. Cracks and chips in sculptures and concrete cannot be left to deteriorate for very long. City funding, which recently was boosted in 2012, only covers routine maintenance and repairs.
"People care about the fountains because it's a symbol of who we are," said Pat O'Neill, a foundation board member. "We have sports teams, barbecue, all those things are great. What's the one thing when national TV comes to Kansas City what do they take pictures of, our fountains."
Other fountains in desperate need of repair include: The Westside Fountain, the Spirit of Freedom Fountain and the Seville Light Fountain. The foundation also would like to raise $270 thousand in individual donations for a legacy fund to help keep the fountains flowing for generations to come.
For more information on how to make a donation to keep Kansas City's legacy flowing, visit kcparks.org/about-fountains/wish-upon-a-fountain.